May 12, 2000

Teaching, research awards unveiled at faculty meeting

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Teaching, research awards unveiled at faculty meeting

A new series of awards were the highlight of last week's Spring Faculty Meeting, which also featured updates on the medical center's financial performance and several major initiatives.

"We're beginning a wonderful new tradition of honoring faculty recognized by their peers as outstanding teachers and researchers," said Dr. Harry R. Jacobson, vice chancellor for Health Affairs.

Six awards for outstanding contributions to teaching were presented by Dr. John E. Chapman, dean of the School of Medicine. Award recipients in six different categories that recognize the diverse teaching settings of the medical center were nominated by faculty and selected by a faculty committee. Each honoree received the School of Medicine Medal of Merit and $1000. They were:

• Kathleen L. Gould, Ph.D., professor of Cell Biology, for "Mentoring Graduate and/or Medical Students in the Research Setting."

• F. Peter Guengerich, Ph.D., professor of Biochemistry and director of the Center in Molecular Toxicology, for "Mentoring Postdoctoral Fellows and/or Residents in the Research Setting."

• Jeanette J. Norden, Ph.D., professor of Cell Biology, for "Teaching Medical or Graduate Students or Practicing Physicians in the Lecture Setting."

• Dr. Virginia A. Eddy, associate professor of Surgery, for "Teaching Medical or Graduate Students or Practicing Physicians in the Small Group Setting."

• Dr. Frank H. Boehm, professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, for "Teaching Medical Students, Residents, and/or Fellows in the Clinical Setting."

• Arthur F. Dalley, Ph.D., professor of Cell Biology, for "Innovation in Education Programming that has proven to be effective."

Five awards for outstanding contributions to research were presented by Lee E. Limbird, Ph.D., associate vice chancellor for Research.

The awards are named after past and present faculty members whose own research contributions were recognized with membership in the National Academy of Sciences.

Awardees, selected by a faculty committee from submitted nominations, also received the School of Medicine Medal of Merit and $1000.

• Brigid L. M. Hogan, Ph.D., Hortense B. Ingram Professor of Molecular Oncology, professor of Cell Biology, and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator, received the Rollo Park Faculty Research Award "for basic research findings revealing insights into physiology and pathophysiology."

• Dr. David Robertson, professor of Medicine, Pharmacology, and Neurology, and director of the Clinical Research Center, received the Bill Darby Faculty Research Award "for translational research accelerating advances in medical practice or health care services."

• Dr. John A. Oates, Thomas F. Frist Professor of Medicine, professor of Pharmacology, and director of the Center for Pharmacology and Drug Toxicology, received the Grant D. Liddle Faculty Research Award "for excellence in clinical research."

• H. Earl Ruley, Ph.D., Ingram Professor of Cancer Research and professor of Microbiology and Immunology, received the Sidney P. Colowick Faculty Research Award "for excellence in research that serves as a platform for discovery in diverse research areas."

• Lawrence J. Marnett, Ph.D., Mary Geddes Stahlman Professor of Cancer Research and professor of Biochemistry and Chemistry, received the Stanley Cohen Faculty Research Award "for research bringing diverse disciplines, such as chemistry or physics, to solving biology's most important fundamental problems."

Prior to the award presentations, Jacobson reported the status of finances and major initiatives.

"In terms of financial performance, we're beginning to see an emerging success story," Jacobson said.

Cost control efforts that were initiated in the fall are reining in the cost per discharge and outpatient cost per visit. Staff reduction, primarily through attrition and re-assignment, has set the right trend in the number of full-time equivalent staff members per adjusted occupied bed.

An area still ripe for improvement is resource utilization, Jacobson said.

"A huge cost issue is the variability in the way we practice medicine," he said. "We fortunately have a very smart faculty, and we intend to be a leader — not just in Nashville, but in the country— in changing the culture of practicing medicine and the way we teach residents and students to practice medicine."

The strategic plan for the academic enterprise included the goal of increasing sponsored research. Jacobson reported that the last two years have seen the largest growth in total sponsored research dollars and in NIH funding at VUMC.

Strategies to enable growth include a new research building (MRBIII), a new vivarium atop the Werthan building, a renewed focus on clinical research, and the recruitment of new faculty and top leadership for departments with chair searches under way. n

Other current major initiatives include the Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center addition to the Frances Williams Preston Building (formerly MRBII) and construction of the new Vanderbilt Children's Hospital.